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20 December 2010

Zagreb Worlds 2013 Bid - Adjudication Update

To the World Debating Community,
Many of you will already have read the open letter from me released on several weeks ago, either way, this e-mail summarises and elaborates our plans for Zagreb Worlds 2013 regarding adjudication. First, we have one exciting piece of news to announce. In our initial communications we stated our intention to appoint, before Botswana Worlds, an Assistant Chief Adjudicator - a post used at several international tournaments including Cork Worlds 2009 to help meet the increasing administrative burdens placed on Worlds Adjudication Teams. We are delighted to announce that Joe Roussos, Chief Adjudicator of Pan-Africans 2010, South African National Champion and Best Speaker, and Secretary to the World Universities Debating Council, has agreed to be the Assistant Chief Adjudicator for Zagreb Worlds 2013. The inclusion of Joe's role on the Adjudication Team will enable us to incorporate into our bid some of our ambitious plans for adjudication at Zagreb Worlds 2013.
What are these 'ambitious' plans? As Worlds has expanded in size in recent years, and been hosted by a series of remarkably capable OrgComms and Adjudication Teams, the standards expected of the World Championships have rightly become high. The whole debating community expects and deserves many things from your adjudication team, and I am confident that both bids being presented to Worlds Council this year will be able to provide the following:
  • A regionally representative adjudication team, including a dedicated DCA with a background in ESL or EFL debating.
  • Motions rigorously tested for fairness and accessibility (both in terms of varying levels of debating experience, and across language categories), and which are original, highly interesting, and capable of being debated in a wide range of styles and from a variety of perspectives.
  • Absolutely no neglect of motions for the ESL and EFL Outrounds. These are just as integral a part of the World Championships as any other, and a huge number of those attending Worlds want to watch, appear in, or judge these rounds. Anyone who thinks it is acceptable to set less serious, interesting or publicly absorbing motions for them, is simply wrong.
  • A high quality and deep judging pool, guaranteed as such by subsidising the world's best judges from all over the globe.
  • Quality judging in all rooms, but in particular in all rooms eligible for any of the breaks.
  • A full feedback system for debaters and judges to give feedback on adjudication.
  • Workshops for less experienced debaters and judges, to make the introduction to World Championship debating as enjoyable as possible.
  • Incorporation of any reforms to the championships ruled on by Worlds Council.
We have already announced our plans to meet these expectations. We will have four DCAs appointed by application including 1 from the Americas, 1 from Oceania, 1 from Asia and 1 from Europe, Africa or the Middle East. Our DCAs will include at least 1 DCA with an ESL/EFL debating background. We intend to have the most extensive training workshops of any Worlds to date. We will invite and subsidise at least 50 top judges from around the world. We will meet all the expected standards for World Championship adjudication.
But as I have hinted, we want to do more than just meet expected standards, we want to push the standard higher; the best Worlds in recent years have been those that have marshalled the innnovation and energy to add to what past championships have done. As such, I have been determined from the start to outline plans for the unique, extra advantages we want you to look forward to at Zagreb Worlds 2013:
  • A new, dedicated computer program for tracking judge rotation to ensure that all chair judges at the tournament should see multiple good debates, and hopefully all wing judges too. This is not difficult to design and will be independent from the tabbing program - so no risks involved. We will track a running score for judges based on the rooms they have judged, managed by a dedicated member of the Tab Room team. Why? No judge capable of chairing a room at the World Championships deserves to be consigned only to judging what are perceived as 'low' rooms, and debaters of all levels of experience deserve quality feedback and adjudication. Rotation need not come at the cost of quality judging - high quality panels can be preserved with forward planning on the part of the Adjudication Team. We want judges to remember Zagreb Worlds as one of the most enjoyable to adjudicate ever, and we believe that you will all benefit from this effort and organisation on our part.
  • A redesigned Worlds Masters Competition, with all top judes and former greats of debating who are attending the tournament encouraged to take part. We want to guarantee that Worlds Masters at Zagreb is as prestigious, exciting, and universally impressive a public spectacle as it has been at the very best Worlds Masters of the past.
  • A complete Guide to World Championship Debating that we will release well in advance of the tournament, to assist anyone that finds it useful, particularly new societies and debaters. We will, as always, have the standard online judging briefing and debating guidelines. But we want to go further - this will be a full, free, 20+ pages guide. We would like to get contributions to it from the best debaters in the world to produce something useful, definitive, and hopefully lasting. You can use it how you wish.
  • A more extensive system of panel construction than ever before. No debaters deserve to be penalised, in a potentially crucial debate, by happening to be judged exclusively by adjudicators from a different debating background or perspective than them. We firmly believe this benefits everyone and we have ideas as to how to do it without any noticeable increase in tabbing time between rounds.
  • We will not only have more extensive debating and judging workshops at the tournament than ever before, but are happy to organise workshops in advance of the tournament, attended by Adjudication Team members or other top coaches, for societies able to help us fund the associated travel costs.
  • We reserve the option for a further DCA appointment for the best application in the world that we receive. It is absolutely right that the DCA appointments include reserved spots for different regions, ensuring global input into what should be a global adjudication team. However, if there are two truly outstanding candidates from a region, it is to nobody's benefit that one of them be excluded. We reserve the right to appoint one further DCA, regardless of the region they are from, who produces the best application from the pool of remaining contenders.
  • We will instruct all chairs of 'out-round' debates, in all breaks, on a basic minimum time they should spend in adjudication. We do not believe that debates of such importance, however clear, should be adjudicated with basically no discussion amongst adjudicators. Judges need at least to clarify why they are in agreement, and ensure that the teams they think have not progressed get due attention and consideration. It hurts judges, teams that advance, and teams that don't, when a panel is noticed to have emerged barely 30 seconds after the debate has finished.
  • We will publish a public Adjudication Report, post tournament, on all that happened regarding adjudication and motions. We will lay out both mistakes and successes for the benefit of future adjudication teams.
    These are not our only plans. And above all we will consult. Are there other niggling problems with Worlds you would like us to try and solve? Do you think there are obstacles to these plans we may not have considered? Your participation will ensure the most enjoyable experience for everyone involved in the World Championships.
    I hope you find these plans exciting. I, Joe, and the whole of the Zagreb Worlds Team would be delighted to have your support at Worlds Council.
    Many best wishes,
    Jonathan Leader Maynard
    Chief Adjudicator, Zagreb Worlds 2013 Bid

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